Experiment In Colour

How does the saying go?  I think it’s “April showers bring May flowers” and boy are we getting showers over here in my neck of the North East woods.  I feel as if winter’s still here.   Dark, gloomy, gray, very wet days have become all too frequent.  Despite what the weather’s like, I’ve decided to enjoy Spring in my choice of colours for the projects I’m working on this week.  I’ve decided to experiment with colour combos and brighten up my dreary days with vibrant colour!

Experiment In Colour

I wasn’t sure if this peach and magenta combo on my Duotone Cowl (original image below) was going to work.

source: original design and colour combo from Orange Flower Yarn (on Ravelry)

I laid them out together one day, looked at them for another 48 hours then decided to take the plunge.  So far so good … I think I like it.  I’m hoping the magenta doesn’t overpower the peach once I get to the second set of repeats where the magenta would be the dominant colour.  This project is another simple one with great teaching opportunities.  In addition to being a colour experiment, I needed to learn crochet provisional cast on since the cowl will be eventually joined using kitchener stitch.  If I didn’t get enough of seaming that way with my first mitten, ha … this project is going to make an expert out of me.  The other technique is making jogless stripes … honestly, it looks messy to me but I was assured that the stitches would smooth out once the project is done and blocked.   The miles of stockinette makes it perfect for what my friend Elisa calls …  Knitflixing (aka watching Netflix while knitting).

The second project is more of a mental experiment in colour.  I would NEVER pick  that shocking green colour as an option for a solid blanket but my little cousin did.  Shown above is the yarn/colour he chose to make the Sutter Mill Cable Throw that he made me promise to make him after he saw my 2014 Mood blanket.  Strangely enough, although the colour is so startlingly bright to me, I have to admit that it’s kinda cheery to work with on those grey days and I can’t wait to see the cables forming.  Here’s the original pattern — one of the four blankets I plan to make this year:

source: LionBrand Studio

I’m making this all together instead of doing 5 stripes then seaming.  It might take a little longer this way but I don’t mind.  I know it will also get heavier the larger it gets but I’ll just have to lay it down while I work on it.  There was NO WAY  I was going to do the five strips individually … NO WAY!!!  😀  I just have to pay attention to where I make the cable crosses since three are to the right and two are to the left.

So?  What are you working on?  Anything fun, bright or using a Spring palette?  Any new techniques?  What’s your favourite jogless stripes method?  Talk to me in the comments!  😀

On Being Honest …

I think all knitters go through what I’m going through right now though some get there way faster than me but hey … better late than never right?  LOL!   The thing is, it’s not that I didn’t know before what I’m about to share but I’m going to share anyway.   I’ve decided this year I was going to really take my knitting and craft learning seriously.  I want to craft better and that takes practice, research and honesty.   The first two things are self explanatory, you can’t get better at anything if you don’t practice and in order to keep up with trends, techniques and instruction, research (plus willingness to learn) plays a huge part.  But honesty … what’s that got to do with anything?  Let me explain …

I started a hat for a friend.  Her birthday is next Friday (2.27) and I promised her this hat since last winter.  I wanted to finish it by this weekend, make some bath scrub and put together a birthday basket of those in addition to some blueberry muffins I also promised her.  Knowing that I don’t have much time (why I wait until the last minute is another post),  I started the hat two nights ago.  I was on tap to finish everything but of course, like every good knitter, I decided to check my work.  It looked nice but on further investigation, almost all the cable crosses had gigantic holes close to them.  See Exhibit 1:

Know Your Fiber I

I know holes are normal with cable crossings but not this size — my pinky could fit through these!!!  But if I was honest before I started, I would have admitted that the yarn I picked was a mistake.  It had absolutely no stretch, no breathe-ability.  There was no bounce to the yarn so of course, there was no blooming or stretchability to help hide these holes.  It had to happen that way because the yarn is acrylic!  If I were honest, I would have admitted before I started that there was no way I could get what I wanted out of this “fiber” — quotation marks in order cause we all know acrylic is soft plastic.   And that’s what I mean about honesty.  If I was honest that my “fiber” choice wasn’t the best fit, I would not have now been looking for something that’s more appropriate.  A project that should have been done already has to be restarted.

Which brings me to my next revelation.  If you’ve read this blog long enough you’ll know that  I’ve always kept a place in my stash for acrylic yarn.  But as of last night, I’ve packed up most of it.  Between the allergic reaction in December and this current fiasco, I’m giving my acrylic a timeout or maybe even a big toss.   I still believe it works for some things, but increasingly, as my crafting improves, I find that I don’t want to work with it so much anymore.   There I said it.  I’m not a yarn snob, I don’t have to have every fancy schmancy yarn that’s out there on the market but I find that as my craft improves, I want to work with more natural fibers.  If I do work with acrylic, from now on, it’s going to be with blends — acrylic and wool or acrylic and some other natural fiber.  I have some blends in my stash and I’ve kept those from the chopping block.

I wasn’t sure what I’m going to do with all the acrylic I’ve amassed over the years, but tomorrow, there’s going to be a big toss out. I think the only non-blends I’ll keep are my Caron Soft, my Lionbrand Thick n Quick and my Knit Picks Brava.  Sounds like a lot, but it’s not.  It’s enough to keep me stocked after I give the rest away.   I’ll look on Ravelry for some charity that’s willing to take the giveaway lot but I’m done.  While super-wash wool has been getting a bad rep around yarn blog-sphere lately, that will be my go to choice for items (personal or gifts) where either the recipient might not want to hand-wash or it’s just not feasible.  As warm it might be, I will NEVER make a blanket in 100% wool or any fiber I have to hand wash.  Never.

In the meantime, I took a break from my acrylic saga and dyed these two beauties.   The fiber is 100% merino for both — the orange one done with acid dye and the light brown with natural dye extract from the Cutch tree.

Know Your Fiber III

I’d love to know what you all think about using super-wash.  While you talk to me in the comments, I’ll be trying to find a substitute yarn for my friend’s hat.  😀